Penile implants are devices put inside the penis that allow men with erectile dysfunction (ED) to get an erection.
Penile implants require an involved surgery. There's a risk of infection and a risk that the device won't work. But new materials, designs and surgical procedures have greatly improved results. Most men with penile implants and their partners say they're satisfied with the results.
Why it's done
For most men, erectile dysfunction can be successfully treated with medications or use of a penis pump (vacuum constriction device). Penile implants may be an option to consider if you can't get an erection sufficient for sex with these other methods or if other methods cause undesirable side effects.
Penile implants are also used to treat some cases of Peyronie's disease — a condition that causes scarring inside the penis, leading to bent, painful erections. For Peyronie's disease, penile implant surgery is considered only when penis curvature is severe and other treatments have failed.
Risks of penile implant surgery include:
Treating an infection
How you prepare
Prior to the procedure, your doctor will want to make sure an implant is the best option. Your doctor may ask you questions or do tests to help pinpoint the cause of your erectile dysfunction. Your doctor will want to be absolutely certain that your erectile dysfunction can't be treated in another way. Your doctor will also want to determine whether there's any reason that implant surgery is likely to cause complications.
Penile implant surgery is usually done at a surgery center or hospital by a urologist. Your surgeon may request that you do several things before surgery. You may need to take the following steps:
What you can expect
Penile implant surgery usually takes 45 minutes to an hour. Your doctor may give you medication to make you unconscious during the surgery (general anesthesia) or may give you medication that blocks pain in the lower part of your body (spinal anesthesia).
Immediately before surgery
Types of penile implants
Inflatable implants are the most common type of penile implant used in the United States. Inflatable devices are more natural than semirigid types are because they can be inflated to create an erection and deflated at other times. Inflatable implants also reduce the possibility of damage to the inside of the penis due to constant pressure — which can be a problem for some men with semirigid implants.
There are two- and three-piece inflatable implants.
Semirigid rods are always firm. The penis may be bent away from the body to have sex and toward the body to conceal the device. Although less commonly used than the inflatable type, semirigid implants are less complicated, easier to place and have less risk of failure.
Comparing implant types
Three-piece penile implant
The three-piece inflatable penile implant consists of inflatable cylinders inside the shaft of the penis, a fluid reservoir under the abdominal wall, and a pump inside the scrotum. ...
Two-piece penile implant
The two-piece inflatable penile implant consists of inflatable cylinders inside the shaft of the penis and a combined fluid reservoir and pump unit in the scrotum. ...
Semirigid penile implant
The semirigid penile implant is bent upward for sex and toward the body for concealment under clothing. ...
New designs and surgical procedures have improved the function and safety of penile implants. Although implants are the most invasive and least often chosen treatment for erectile dysfunction, most men who have the procedure say they're satisfied with the results.
There are some things men should know before choosing to have the procedure:
Last Updated: 2011-02-25
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